Think watching enough Lupin movies and TV specials are starting to wear on me since I'm getting more familiar with how their setups work. This TV special features Lupin and the gang trying to find the whereabouts of a broach that bring great luck to those in possession of it and the group crossing paths with the president of a shady international financial firm called Bank of the World. Said president, Cynthia, serves as the Lupin "woman of the film", yet is the major baddie of $1 Money Wars in an attempt to give the film some sense of freshness. While she starts off being reasonably competent and giving Lupin difficulty in the first half of the film, she makes some rather stupid decisions in the later half of the film when confronting Lupin towards the climax. Other villains seen in the movie are just random thugs with little depth who will inevitably get offed. The rest of Lupin's gang have their roles to fulfill, though don't get much to do here beyond supporting Lupin in his efforts. Zenigata also doesn't get much to do here as $1 Money Wars features another instance of him moping over how his life has no meaning without chasing Lupin that several movies have already done. The movie had a few moments that got me snickering, but nothing that made me giddy. Overall, $1 Money Wars offers more of the same stuff you can expect from a Lupin film. Whether you find that to be good or bad depends on how exposed you've become to the Lupin franchise.
Last updated Saturday, June 29 2013. Created Saturday, June 29 2013.
One of the things I always want from a Lupin title is a sense of fun, adventure, Lupin-comedy, the gang (to include Inspector Zenigata), and an interesting story. This TV special provides that, but with a few flaws.
Early in the series, I once again was treated to the Japanese view on American cops. Their actions in responding to dicovering Lupin is about to steal something are so ludicrous that they aren't funny. As I saw this, I remembered You're Under Arrest in America. Clearly the Japanese have an image of American police that is just insane. Then again, maybe we have an image of the Japanese that isn't right either. This little gem of text appeared in a newspaper article within the anime (yes, I paused the DVD to read the text):
But be careful. What you learn about Japan through anime may have nothing to do with real everyday life in Japan. This is not the way Japanese actually live. Anime are a kind of fantasy they have about their life in Japan. They are their modern folk tales.
I'm guessing this was a message from the Japanese to the American audience, but then again, FUNimation in theory could have inserted this (though that seems highly unlikely). If from the Japanese, it is an amusing item, but if from FUNimation, not so amusing. If I find out something, I'll update this.
Anyway, the story is pretty much by the numbers for Lupin. As often happens, he befriends an attactive, young female, in this case a singer named Sandy, and agrees to help them. However, beyond giving Lupin a reason to go on this treasure hunt, and a reason to give it all away (a common happenstance), Sandy is pretty much a waste of a character. There's almost no development of her character here.
Lupin and the gang are up to their usual form. No nudity for Fujiko-chan this time (though she does lose a bra in one scene). Her character suffers from the stupids in this anime while at the same time, appearing to be as smart & clever as ever. It is an odd dichotomy for the character, but not enough to annoy me. Jigen has a nice little running gag (of sorts) of comparing guns to women. Goemon is again an idiot looking for the answers to life's meaning (another usual trait of his) and for things to improve him. This time it is religion, and the need for money to aid his religion gets him back to help the gang. Zenigata has a repeat of other episodes/specials/movies to show that his life is nothing without the pursuit of Lupin. Yeah, been there done that.
Speaking of been there, done that, once again Lupin "dies" and everyone believes it. Now, even with the known absuridty of Lupin Physics and the like, the explaination of how he survives is just an eye-rolling experience. I had to remind myself, "If you can believe that Lupin is a quick-change artist, you can believe he did these things to survive a certain death."
The villian this time, Cynthia, starts off as an interesting character and a seeming suitable match for Lupin. However, she developes the stupids after learning Lupin is still alive. Someone as clever as she shouldn't have lost that aspect. The writers attempt to cover her by having Fujiko suddenly inform Lupin as to the "why." While the explaination can cover the stupids, how Cynthia got to that aspect in the explaination is a mystery to me.
The other villians in this are the standard thug-types that villians often have on their payroll. As such, they are like the "red shirts" in the classic Star Trek series -- as soon as you see them onscreen, you know what is going to happen.Bottom line: not a bad title but nothing that special either. Still, I had enough fun with Lupin and the gang to give this a solid Rent.
Last updated Saturday, June 17 2006. Created Saturday, June 17 2006.
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